Monday Update from ACS in SLC

obamiumGenerally Speaking.  On Monday, we were greeted with some light snowfall, and I don’t think it’s going to get much warmer while I’m here.  Aaron from Wired Blog made the comment that attendance looks low at ACS in Salt Lake City.  I agree, and I wonder if it’s a function of the economy.  On the humorous side of science, there was a vendor in front of the Salt Palace this morning selling “Obamium” t-shirts.  I didn’t get one (we live in a McCain/Palin household).  Also, I’ve noticed that there isn’t a lot of ground-breaking synthetic organic chemistry being presented. 

LENR = Cold Fusion?  Not quite a tabletop source of energy, but interesting nevertheless.  Pamela Mosier-Boss, Steve Krivit, Antonella De Ninno and a few other experts took questions from a packed house about the interpretation of recent results surrounding advancements in low energy nuclear reactions (LENR).  Those in attendance included Scott Chubb (of Infinite Energy fame), KSL-TV Channel 5 and the legendary Mitch Andre Garcia.  I’m not even going to try and explain the crux of the talk (being a synthetic organic chemist, and all).  However, the video of the press conference is available here, and I encourage you to check it out if you’re interested.  Perhaps if you ask Mitch really nice, he’ll write a post on the ins and outs of the debate.  While there are several critics of the research (for example, click here), the crux of the talk appeared to focus on recruiting young chemists to explore this “new” area of science. 

Feel the Burn.  The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) announced their discovery of gas hydrates—“a frozen form of natural gas that bursts into flames at the touch of a match.”  Tim Collett (project co-leader) claims that this work may bridge the gap between relatively dirty fossil fuels and clean energy because gas hydrates purportedly leave a small carbon footprint. 

Just Scan it.  I took a few moments to speak with Dr. Jeffrey Silk, president of Silk Scientific, about his digitizing software.  I haven’t seen this sort of program before, so I’ll make the assumption that others haven’t either.  The product (called “UN-SCAN-IT”) takes a chart, graph, HPLC trace, etc. and converts the image into data points, which can be dropped into a program such as Excel.  With the “raw” datapoints, UN-SCAN-IT allows you to integrate, take derivatives, and perform curve fitting.  If this sort of thing tickles your fancy, you can download a demo of the software here.  For all of you bio-type peeps, Silk Scientific also sells a second program called “UN-SCAN-IT gel,” which acts as a densitometer for gel images.  As for future generations of products for Silk Scientific, I suggested he make a program that will automatically solve 1H-NMR spectra.


  1. Just Scan It sounds very useful. I’ve already pimped it to several people that could use something like that and don’t have the time to program their own solution.

  2. I’m kind of interested in the methane hydrate talk, since I’m wondering why methane hydrate would have a lower carbon footprint than methane obtained from the ground. Perhaps they are referring to the method proposed some years ago which takes advantage of the fact that CO2 hydrate is even more stable than CH4 hydrate. CO2 produced by the combustion of the methane hydrate could be stored back in the water as the hydrate. Perhaps simply pumping CO2 into a deposit of methane hydrate might be sufficient to release CH4 while capturing the CO2 in an exhange reaction.

  3. Mitch, I’d really appreciate your opinion on the SPAWAR LENR (to use their acronym) talk.

  4. Could be I am missing something but “The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) announced their discovery of gas hydrates” sounds a little bit strange, as I am reading about methane hydrates since I started to understand both words – and it was back in seventies. And I am not the oldest guy around.

    • I spent a while last night (when I probably should have been either out drinki–er–socializing or working on my dissertation) looking for references that encompass the two PI’s of this press release (Tim Collett and Ray Boswell). Nothing.

  5. Pingback: Chemistry Blog » Blog Archive » Cold Fusion Has Its Press Conference

  6. Michael R. Himes says:

    On LENR as it applys to the chemistry in the ICCF 12 2005 Yang Koldamasove boron 11 in mineral oil demonstration. The DoE wated a mathematical model for the observed reported fusion reaction. I ponder the working fluid change to a hydrogel with nano brine water bubbles composed of Acqueous Boric Acid and Sodium Chloride in a mineral oil hydrogel cavitation in a spayed hydrogel stream.

    A chemical model would be a zwitterionic nano brine water micelles with a negative charge outer shell and a neutral charge inner shell aligned over a water dipole lattice core at vapor phase implosion. What would be a chemical model and the mathematical model for the fusion reation at implosion of the nano micelles?

    An asphalt drag pump in Texas ran self sustained operation using this principal in 1970 Texas (The Richard Clem Engine) and I believe it was a viable demonstration of LENR in an asphalt “Soap” emulsifier operation.

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